Bishop William Skylstad, a former president of the U.S. bishops' conference, believes that the Eucharist is the solution for today's anxious and frenetic society.
“There’s a sort of unbridled restlessness which touches our lives and touches the life of the culture, constantly searching and sometimes searching in the wrong way. But Jesus today is the answer,” he said in a homily at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome April 24.
“Indeed, as St. Augustine commented some centuries later, ‘Our souls are restless, Lord, until they rest in thee’; for it is the Eucharist that gives us rest and peace and life, and for that we can be very grateful.”
The 78-year-old Bishop Skylstad headed the U.S. bishop's conference 2004-2007 and is currently serving as apostolic administrator of the Baker Diocese in Oregon.
He is now in Rome with 14 other bishops from the northwest states on their ad limina pilgrimage April 23-27.
During their brief visit to the Eternal City, the bishops from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska will also meet with Vatican officials and Pope Benedict XVI to discuss the health of the Catholic Church in their region.
Bishop Skylstad also proposed to his fellow bishops that Our Lady was another source of refuge for modern society. He told them that the Basilica of St. Mary Major was one of 26 churches in Rome to be named after the mother of Jesus, describing this as “an astonishing number” and reflecting “how powerfully she has impacted upon us in the Church, where the honoring of Mary has become deeply embedded in our Catholic DNA.”
The basilica, he explained, was built in the year 432 in the wake of the Council of Ephesus, where Mary was declared to be Mother of God (“Theotokos” in Greek).
“As we pray for our folks back home in the dioceses in which we serve, today we honor Mary,” concluded Bishop Skylstad, “and we ask that she continues to mother the Church and continues to mother the dioceses in which you and I serve; and that she continues to mother us as bishops, that we might be servants of the Lord.”
Bishops from the Northwest held meetings with the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Congregation for Divine Worship and Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life April 24. On April 25, they offered Mass at the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican basilica.